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Care crisis: A Europe-wide code of conduct would raise standards - Lynne

December 2, 2011 12:31 AM

Shocking failures in elderly care revealed in the recent report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission highlight the need to share and apply best practice from other European countries on how to look after our ageing populations, says Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne.

The West Midlands MEP and longstanding campaigner on care issues said the review also demonstrated the importance of a new non-statutory code of practice on long term care.

Liz Lynne is first Vice President of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee and Vice President of the European Parliament's Age Intergroup.

In September, the Lib Dem conference in Birmingham voted nem con to back Liz Lynne's amendments to a policy motion on social care, which called for sharing best practice and a code of conduct as well as tougher measures to improve care standards, prevent abuse and give adults at risk of abuse similar rights as those given to children.

Her proposals were supported both by Age UK and the Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow.

Liz Lynne said: "The appalling evidence of neglect and abuse in this report is more evidence that our care system is in crisis.

"Elderly people are suffering from a widespread failure to show them dignity, respect and basic standards of care, both at home and in care institutions.

"The core problems of an ageing population, an increase in chronic illness and people living alone and budget pressures are not unique to Britain, every country in Europe is facing these issues.

"We need to learn the lessons and share and apply best practice on models of care that work.

"I have also long called for a new code of conduct or charter at EU level on long term care, which would not need new legislation or cost very much.

"This could have a dramatic effect in raising standards and encouraging both private and public sector care providers to follow best practice in the training and management of care staff.

"I was pleased the Minister has repeated his determination to put adult safeguarding on a statutory footing and also today again mentioned the importance of improved codes of practice."


Liz Lynne's amendment to motion F34 on Adult Social Care, as voted through by the Lib Dem conference in Birmingham in September included the following provisions:

INSERT new paragraph
A. Follows best practice in protecting older people from abuse.
Insert new clause in 2. c) and to confer comparable rights to adults at risk of abuse as those afforded to children.
INSERT new paragraph 6:
1. Take further action to highlight and prevent the growing problem of the abuse of older people, including:
a. Steps to improve the inspection regime for care homes to monitor for abuse and take action when concerns are raised.
b. Improved assistance for victims of abuse, whether it occurs in the home or in a care institution and greater protection for those who uncover or witness abuse.
c. Support for a non-statutory EU-wide Code of Conduct for long term care, including a Charter of Rights for older people.
d. Encourage the pro-active exchange of research and best practice in Britain and other EU member states on the prevalence of abuse and effective measures to prevent it.